Today is a great day. It’s already well past noon and I haven’t melted into tears at all! I claim this as a big victory as we complete week one in our new home. For months now I’ve longed for an end to all the transitions. Yet here I am, completely overwhelmed and feeling so lost. So why is that? How can it be that I have counted the days to this blessed event and now I'm a bit of a mess? That's certainly been the question I have asked myself each morning.
One of the answers I get back is that I was totally unprepared for all the new I have encountered. I don’t know why, but I never took into account that literally everything that I would do each day would feel new. Not new in a “wow” way but in a awkward way. Like how you feel when you're learning to ride a bike. The new wasn’t good or bad. It just is, well, new. It turns out that figuring out “new” requires a good store of mental stamina and emotional resilience. Unfortunately, I entered our moving week with both of those tanks running low, making myself a prime target for meltdowns.
And so I’d begin each morning so gosh darn determined to maintain a state of gratitude for this beautiful new forever home, but within hours my mood would take a dive. Actually, I was lucky to make it through breakfast those first 48 hours without tears in the midst of all the move-in chaos. Being frustrated with myself and trying to feel a way I didn’t certainly was not helping the situation.
And then it all began to change. What helped me turn the corner? Did I power through all of the boxes from the kitchen or arrange my new closet in Marie Kondo style? Hardly. It actually came out of not pushing harder. It came from remembering what I know about the healing power of self-compassion.
It didn’t happen all in one day but rather bit by bit. I was able to rally up compassion for the part of myself that felt lost and unrooted, compassion for the me that was exhausted from schlepping boxes, and yes, even compassion for the me that got lost both coming and going to the grocery store!
So what did compassion for all those messy parts of myself look like? Well, it looked like reviving bits of the morning routine that I've honed over the years. By starting my day with something familiar I was able to provide some simple stability when literally everything around me was in motion. It looked like setting up my yoga mat and meditation cushion in the midst of a wall of boxes in my new office and lighting a candle. It looked like pulling out a journal and writing just a paragraph each morning to connect with myself. It looked like digging through boxes to find my green tea collection and making myself a cup or two each morning. And then today it looked like a brisk morning walk in the brilliant sunshine.
Now to be clear, I’m still surrounded by chaos and will be opening boxes for another month. But by cultivating self-compassion on a daily basis I'm beginning to take root in my new home.
My personal challenge was moving, but each one of you have surely faced a change of your own. Whether the change was a new baby, a new job, a new boss, or a new partner, self-compassion will be your ally. All change responds well to self-compassion, but it’s easy to forget when you are in the midst of it all, like I did.
While I am now quite capable of making it through the day without collapsing into a puddle of tears I’m still feeling off. My remedy? More self-compassion and more time. Building on my simple morning routine will enable me to restore my mental stamina and emotional resilience until I feel grounded and connected with this new home and the me that resides within. Stay tuned for next week’s post on even more change that is underway.